Sporting gift ideas

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 1 2010 3:00 p.m. MST

Nothing is more satisfying than finding the perfect gift for loved ones.

But when shopping for outdoor lovers and gear heads, finding just the right gift — i.e., something they don't already have — can be more challenging than navigating the hoards of shoppers on Black Friday.

The toys for outdoor enthusiasts are better than ever this year, and the Deseret News has compiled a list of some of our favorites.

Some might think of the outdoors as the place where one goes to escape technology.

But in the last decade, technological innovations have proved to enhance outdoor experiences from running to hiking to skiing.

Here's the list, in no particular order:

The Nike Element Shield Tight. I have never been a fan of running tights, but this pair might convert me. The built-in windshield panel is just part of the reason to choose tights over sweats.

What's the advantage of running tights over thermal sweats? They keep the heat closer to the body, which means they're warmer, regardless of the activity. Available at Wasatch Running for $90.

Mizuno breathable thermal stretch crew. The favorite base of many runners, it combines the best of wool with other fabrics to form a light-weight but surprisingly warm layer next to the skin. "When you get sweat on it, it actually gets warmer," said Brad Phippen of WRC.

At Wasatch Running, they demonstrated the ability of the fabric with a little water test. They hand you a handful of the soft breathable fabric and then drop water on it. It instantly heats up, but more so with movement. Available at Wasatch Running for $60.

Patigonia Packable Nano Puff Jacket. Super lightweight and surprisingly warm, the real attraction is how beautiful this jacket looks! It packs into a small bag you could hook on a belt or put in a backpack. Perfect for any outdoor exercise in the ever-changing weather of the Wasatch Mountains. Available at Wasatch Running for $179.

The Edge 800 cycling computer. That GPS touchscreen that you love in your car, well, now it's available on your bike! It provides maps for cities when you're away from home and is ideal for touring, commuting, competitive cycling and mountain biking. Available at Salt Lake City Bicycle Company for $50-$650, depending on the bells and whistles.

Bags, bags and more bags. Can you have too many? Noelle O designs and Velo City Bags are both made in Utah and available at Salt Lake City Bicycle Company anywhere from $100-$145.

Saucony DryLete Headband. Keeps your ears warm, your hair out of your eyes and it looks great. There is even a hole for the pony tail. Available at Wasatch Running for $15.

Sugoi Mid-zero Wind Boxer Brief. This is for men who love to run in cold weather, but do not like the way that icy breeze cuts through their clothing. There is a wind-proof panel right where one needs it most. Available at Wasatch Running for $40.

Ice Trekkers with the diamond grip. Made for runners and walkers who shun the treadmill when it gets cold, but this winter it might come in handy just shoveling the walk. Available at Wasatch Running for $40.

Speaking of running on the snow or ice, for those who just can't resist the temptation, try a pair of running snow shoes. There is a race model and one for joggers ($299 and $299, respectively), and Wasatch Running rents them for the weekend for $10.

"They're a sleeker fit, and it's easier to run in them," said manager Darrell Phippen.

Wool has been a featured item in outdoor wear for the last couple of years, as manufacturers make it more attractive and mix it with fabrics that are softer.

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